Rich's Quest For Flight

My father was a pilot. He died doing what he loved to do. It has been a goal of my life to become a pilot. Now I have chance to do so. Follow me as I pursue my dream.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

METAR text: KRYV 100018Z AUTO 18004KT 10SM CLR 11/M01 A3011 RMK AO2
Conditions at: KRYV (WATERTOWN, WI, US) observed 0018 UTC 10 April 2006
Temperature: 11.0°C (52°F)
Dewpoint: -1.0°C (30°F) [RH = 43%]
Pressure (altimeter): 30.11 inches Hg (1019.7 mb)
Winds: from the S (180 degrees) at 5 MPH (4 knots; 2.1 m/s)
Visibility: 10 or more miles (16+ km)
Ceiling: at least 12,000 feet AGL
Clouds: sky clear below 12,000 feet AGL
Weather: automated observation with no human augmentation;
there may or may not be significant weather present at this time

This format breaks out the message at the top into its components in a way that is more understandable to the layperson. It was just a beautiful evening.

Got to the airport 10 minutes early, and Adam was there and ready to go. We went back to the briefing room, and had a 10 minute discussion about flying in the "pattern". The pattern is the prescribed circuit in conjunction with a given runway that helps pilots to be more aware of the traffic around them in the critical airspace around an airport. Think of a rectangle with one side overlaying the runway. In the case of a left pattern, you start with takeoff into the wind, or the "upwind". The you turn left after you've climbed out, onto the "crosswind". Once you've reached the pattern altitude, level off, reduce power to cruise, then turn left again onto the "downwind". Once you've reached the end of the field, then reduce power again, pitch down and put in a notch of flaps. When the runway is 45 degrees behind you, then turn left again, onto the "base" leg. Another notch of flaps, pitch to maintain 70 knots, and wait for the runway to get to your left front, and then turn to final. One last notch of flaps and then use power and pitch to get the plane to the threshold. Once you've reached the threshold, you're home, so you can reduce power until the plane is about 50 feet off the ground, then pull back on the yoke and bleed off the rest the speed until the plane gently touches down. That's the idea, at least.

Usually patterns are left patterns. It's the easiest way for the pilot (in the left seat) to see the airfield. At Watertown (KRYV) only runways 23 and 29 use left traffic patterns. When 5 and 11 are in use, then a right pattern is directed. The reason why it's that way at Watertown is because a left pattern for those runways would route aircraft over residential neighborhoods. Certainly it saves the residents from some noise but, more importantly, if a plane loses power over houses, bad things get even worse. The airport is at the edge of town, and right patterns for those runways fly over mostly farms fields.

So we took off from Runway 23 and did landings for the entire lesson. We did a total of 8 landings, applying power and raising the flaps after each one for an immediate takeoff. The runway is about 4400' long, so there is plenty of time to land, take a breath, savor it for a second, then power up and do it all again. We practiced several types of landings. There's a short field procedure, and a soft field procedure. Nothing difficult about them, just slight variations of the standard procedure.

It was a fun flight. After the fourth touch-and-go I felt as though I could do it all day. Then again, I was caught trying to steer on the ground with the aileron (you steer on the ground with the rudder peddles, not the yoke), so I did lose some mental sharpness near the end. Flying the plane is feeling more and more like driving a car; the controls are feeling more natural.

So that's all for now, the next lesson is not until Friday as I am on another business trip this week. Bye!


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